Where the Magic Happens

By: Sara Cleveland

myibook For those of you who may be wondering how I go about doing my writing: I’d like to introduce you to the little Mac that isn’t. It’s almost like the Little Engine that Could, only made by Apple a solid decade ago.

For those who may be too young to remember (hahahaha) this is an iBook G4 (that’s iBook, not MacBook). It is barely functional by today’s standards, though  it does sport a gig of memory (a plus in its favor, considering its age). Just to get a modern browser that could handle Google Docs I had to kick the old Mac OS to the curb and bring in a substitute that could operate on such paltry resources. A light variant of Ubuntu is my OS of choice. Unfortunately, I still can’t have Google Chrome (for you geeks out there, think PowerPC).

Unfortunately, Google Docs doesn’t quite work well enough to actually write, which brings me to my next point. The default word processor on this computer is so slow that it literally cannot keep up with my keystrokes, even on a slow day (which is about 80 wmp for me). Fortunately, because I’m running Linux there is a bevy of free alternatives available for easy download through the Ubuntu Package Center. One of my favorites is FocusWriter. This is where the magic happens.

FocusWriter is a full screen “distraction free” rich text editor that has lots of fun features like word count goals and a timer. It also includes some customizable options for your environment (like background color). My favorite part is that its free. It’s also available for Windows and gasp, Mac.

You’re probably all wondering why on earth I continue to use this thing my husband picked up for $20 (overpaid, if you ask me) when I have a perfectly good, powerful modern desktop sitting on my desk at home. The answer is simple, really. The iBook does one important thing that my desktop doesn’t; it fits in a backpack.